Actor Paul Schulze has built a career out of portraying confrontational authority figures — and he's at it again with Netflix's newest Marvel series. Spoilers for Episodes 1-6. Who is Agent Orange on The Punisher, the newest villainous character Schulze has been tasked with portraying? You may go into the Daredevil spinoff knowing Schulze best as Father Phil from The Sopranos or Agent Chappelle from 24 or Dr. Eddie from Nurse Jackie; but chances are good that you'll walk away from the series knowing the actor best as the creepy, one-eyed William Rawlins.
When Season 1 of The Punisher begins, Frank Castle is just finishing his mission of vengeance that he started in Daredevil Season 2. He has wiped out the three mobs involved in the Central Park shootout that claimed the lives of his wife and two children, and he has executed Colonel Schoonover, his former military commander-turned-drug kingpin who turned out to have been the one who orchestrated the gang war in the first place.
But just in case you thought the connection between Schoonover, the gangs, and Frank's family was a tragically coincidental one, well… William Rawlins is here to set you straight. As The Punisher reveals, Schoonover wasn't working alone — and his supply of drugs had been coming from a most unexpected place.
Rawlins is the CIA agent in charge of a covert ops team code named Cerberus; he ran it together with Marine colonel Ray Schoonover and Homeland Security agent Carson Wolf. Frank Castle was one of the special ops soldiers on the team, along with his BFF Billy Russo. But Cerberus wasn't just running covert assassinations on high-profile targets, as Frank and the rest of the soldiers thought; it was also serving as a front for Agent Orange's drug-running empire.
One day, one of Frank's fellow team members, Gunner, went to the morgue to pay his respects to a soldier who had lost his life — only to discover Rawlins packing the corpse full of drugs to smuggle out of Afghanistan and back into the United States. Schoonover would then distribute the drugs Stateside while Wolf helped cover their tracks. Horrified by this turn of events, Gunner decided to videotape Rawlins executing an innocent Afghani prisoner — Homeland Security agent Dinah Madani's partner, Ahmad Zubair — and passed it off to NSA analyst David Lieberman to expose the corruption of his unit.
Unfortunately, Rawlins thought Frank was the one who took the video… which is why he and Schoonover arranged the mob war to take out Frank and his family and cover their own tracks. Needless to say, that didn't work; in fact, it backfired horribly. Frank was actually clueless about their drug empire until their clumsy assassination attempt — but now that he's finally learned what they were up to, he has put Agent Orange squarely in the crosshairs of his vengeance.
However, Frank's quest to punish Rawlins won't be easy. After faking his death and staying off the grid for so long, Frank finally chose to reveal that he's alive to his former friend and comrade Billy… but he probably should have kept that information to himself a bit longer. It turns out that Billy is actually in league with Rawlins — although how long they've been working together and whether Billy would truly kill his best bud still remains to be seen.
Having just landed himself a medal and a cushy promotion at the CIA, Rawlins will be desperate to hold onto the position he's leveraged himself into with his illegal operations. That desperation will make him a dangerous opponent for Frank to cross; but something tells me The Punisher will be more than up to the task.